Wherever there is public interest, there are con artists preying upon the susceptible. How many shoddily-built iPod rip-offs must one buy or mid-life-crisis-inducing timeshares must one occupy, before this lesson is learned?
Videogames occupy a rather extreme section of entertainment; one in which consumers have a rabid enthusiasm which rivals that of comicbook collectors and movie fanatics. This enthusiasm feeds into an online culture in which a single screenshot or scrap of info is cut open, examined front-to-back, and repeatedly discussed until anything that can be said has been said a hundred times over.
It's a culture ripe for manipulation. And, man, if these PS4 scam sites don't know it.
Even as Google cooks up new algorithms for its searches, the presence of SEO bastards filling the internet with useless, misleading crap for clicks ($$$) continues to grow. The current crop of fake PS4 sites is a good example of this. To those that don't make mad money games blogging, SEO stands for search engine optimization. Putting priority on placement of certain buzzwords. The headline "Britney Spears boobs PS4 am I really pregnant?" would do wonders on our site, if it didn't do an even more wonderful job driving our current audience away.
Perhaps, I'm not telling you anything that you don't already know -- but while I'm at it, use condoms (rubber bands and Ziploc bags aren't the same thing!) -- so let's jump into the good stuff: fake-ass PS4 sites. If you do a Google search and click a couple pages past ye olde' IGNs and Kotakus, you'll be greeted by a list of sites with eye-sore URLs (that I won't link to, in fear of forwarding malware/spyware): ps4info.com, ps4playstation4.com, sonyps4.com, etc.
These crappy Wordpress-based sites feature "exclusive" leaked footage of the PS4, numerous console images, lists of unofficial games, pre-order info, and tickers counting down an unannounced release date:
You probably shouldn't click on this.
What these sites don't have is any contact info or transparency on who started the damn thing. Occasionally, you'll find mention a company name if you dig deep enough. Here's FutureROI: respectable webmasters of SonyPS4.com along with OurWeed.com and L0Lz.com. It does not surprise me in the least to discover FutureROI is Las Vegas-based. I mean, why wouldn't they be?
If it sounds like I'm ragging on these SEO scambait sites, I'm actually not. Sure, what they do is scummy, pointless and toxic to our online environment, but I find it all so delightfully kitsch. I love reading six-plus paragraphs of a writer pulling PS4 factoids out of their bumhole, stealing DeviantART console renders and presenting them as *LEAKED* pictures, and the horrid site design that is at once evident of less than 48 hours of work and nostalgic of GeoCities fan pages of the '90s.
Instead of getting mad, let's laugh at these dumb sites by highlighting the five worst PS4 console images (original source of each design linked below):
1) This thing
Glass + touch = future? I get the sense that something along that equation is being taught at design schools, because I see this kind of crap everywhere in design forums. I don't even know what the hell this thing is. Why would you want the system menu on your physical console? Why would you want a postage stamp video feed of your game on your lap? How comfortable would this thing even be? The only real advancement I see here is that the PS4 could double as a fancy food tray.
I love the "connect to 4 screens" remark. Because there really is a big market of people who own four TVs side-by-side, and a lot of potential in games to take advantage of it. I'm even more puzzled by how you set this down, or does it just constantly wobble back and forth on its rounded frame?
Come tomorrow, Sony will unveil the future of PlayStation. I don't doubt that this racket of fake PS4 info will continue, but the kitsch factor will be lost along with the use of fake system and controller mock-ups. So, let's cherish these final hours of ignorance and intentional misdirection.
Post your favorite PS4 mock-ups below, along with any you made on your own. And as always, wildly speculate and pretend you have eXclusive infoz from your friend who works at Sony.